Aug 25, 2015

Matched (1) - Ally Condie

Published in 2010. This is the first part of the trilogy that tells the story of Cassia Reyes, a girl who needs to make up her mind between the love of Xander and the one of Ky’s. This love plot is set in a futuristic dystopian in which the Society takes the whole control over its citizens, this includes how they dress, what they eat, what kind of job they have to perform, the person the will marry and eventually the date they’ll die.

Cassia just reached her 17th birthday and she’s ready to meet her match at the banquet the Society has prepared for all teenagers her age. This matching process is carried out by carefully stating what characteristics are more compatible between the two individuals, in order to give birth to the best kind of human offspring.
My score:

Everything goes well just perfect; Cassia is thrilled to find out that her match happened to be her best friend Xander, his picture pops up on the giant screen at the Banquet Ceremony. What else could she ask for?

Nonetheless, everything suddenly changes when she attempts to reach the information about her now boyfriend Xander, through the microcard she was given at the matching ceremony. Expecting to see Xander’s face, Ky’s picture shows up instead, this fact made her wonder if the selection of her match was actually a result of an impartial process. From that moment on Cassia will fix her attention on Ky Markham, will try to get to know him better and figure out his particular personality. Ky occupies an ambiguous place in the social hierarchy, we do not know what’s about (at least not in the first book) and neither what circumstances led him into such condition.

The love triangle story is the main plot of the novel which I don’t find really relevant. What catches my attention though is the dystopian in which the plot is set.
From my point of view there are some advantages that this society has to offer, as follows:

  • A group of workers is in charge of preparing everyday meals, with the right caloric contribution requested for every single diner, and deliver it in a steamy foil container.
  • In addition, every citizen is given a small box containing three kinds of pills, some are green, some are blue and lastly the red ones. Each of them are designed to supply a different need.
  • On the other hand, due to permanent surveillance from the Society officials crime rate is a lot lower.
  • Population is not divided into social classes, except, of course, the one of aberrations.
  • The edict decreeing that people must die on their 80th birthday has its advantage as well. Society states that at this age an individual still has a high life standard, since; in general, all diseases have been eradicated, with the purpose of preventing the patient from suffering a severe disease prior death.  It is assumed then, that having surpassed this point elderly will be in no conditions of continuing living a dignified life. Plus, it would be thoroughly convenient for people to pass away at home with the company of their family rather than dying in an inhospitable place or them alone by themselves.

The evil side of this measure, however, is that instead of letting the patient freely ask for the euthanasia, they are obliged to consume a previously poisoned supper on their 80th birthday, what turns the whole thing into a murder case. 

Another extreme measure, not as tough as the one above though, is the fact that people are not allowed to own what they call Artifacts, this is, little trinkets and souvenirs we all keep because they remind us of happy memories. 

In my opinion, the biggest loss in this dystopian is the lack of freedom for creativity. As a consequence, individuals won’t be allowed to create any original content themselves, otherwise they would be incurring in a felony by writing poems and or even just by reading them, as well as the mere act of handwriting will result in law-breaking behavior since they’re only permitted to type on keyboards.

I should say that I have read several negative reviews of this book, seems that it did not get much acceptance from the audience generally speaking; and maybe because of that fact I wasn’t expecting much from this reading, however, I didn’t find it that disappointing actually. Apart from the love story that had some romantic moments, it wasn’t that special, what really caught my eye was the dystopian setting and that’s exactly what will get me reading the second part of the trilogy. Besides, I want to know what happens to Ky, and what did his father do that turned him into someone singular.

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